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Supposedly, even numbered years are less eventful and stressful than odd numbered ones. For us, 2022 was challenging with setbacks, heartaches, and indulgences.

We started off with a full calendar, taking lamp work and fused glass classes and attending plays and events in Seattle and locally. Rich took a week-long course, learning how to draw with pastels.

Additionally, we dove into refreshing our master bathroom, ordering a glass barn shower door, frosted glass sliders for our walk-in closet, cabinets, countertop, and ceramic handles. We then waited. And waited. And waited. It took over six months to get the cabinets, and a snafu in measuring the countertops, resulted in additional delays.

By late summer, we were finally ready to install the flooring, using left-over solid bamboo from our 2017 remodel. Needing a few more boxes, we called the supplier, discovering they no longer made that flooring, but we could get engineered boards. Rich was forced to pull up what he’d previously installed and start over.

Last year, after we replaced our wooden deck with composite, Rich built raised wooden beds for our garden. With the rest of the wood, he built an 11×14 foot viewing platform at the bottom of our property. One of our neighbors complained, starting a domino of issues, which took months of submitting drawings and paperwork. In September, we were told that if we kept the platform in its current location, the permit would cost over $2,000. Really?

Happily, we realized moving the platform to the top of our property, by our walkway, we wouldn’t be in violation of any land use or building codes. Moving the platform took ingenuity on the part of Rich’s daughter Stacey and her husband Shawn, but it’s now in its permanent location and perfect for our double hammock.

A concern, voiced by the county, was the frailty of our sandy bluff. Sure enough, an unusually rainy spring coupled with our Neighborhood Association releasing a torrid of water in front of our house–when they drained the community well–resulted in a 6×30 foot chunk of our bluff collapsing. Days earlier, Julie had been removing poisonous hemlock along the bluff.

While we planted an extensive vegetable (and flower) garden, the non-stop rain curtailed their maturation. Although, this was the first year we were able to grow rows of perfect corn. Unfortunately, rats climbed up the stalks and ate most of the ears before we could pick them. Next year, we need to get a plastic owl or other deterrent to scare them away.

Earlier in the year, Zephyra, our long-haired calico was diagnosed with kidney disease. One evening, she had a seizure. It was a full moon, no different than the night we found her when we lived in Texas. It occurred to me that Jujube, her soulmate, who’d died last year, was calling her to cross the rainbow. The emergency vet concurred it was time to let her go.

Also unexpectedly, in early July, we woke to howling. Lolitta, our beautiful 7-year-old Siamese had a blood clot, cutting off circulation to her back legs. We rushed her to the vet and had to make the agonizing and immediate decision to end her pain. 

Unable to stop crying, Julie searched for a cat who could fill the void. The day before we flew to Florida for a cruise, she contacted a rescue organization, which was fostering a semi-feral, Siamese that was similar in size and coloring to Lolitta, and like Lolitta had given birth to a litter of kittens before she was 1 years old.

When we got home from our cruise, we drove 3-hours, one-way, to get her. The next day, she “freaked out,” gorging a scratch across the top of Rich’s hand, which landed him in a clinic and then twice in the emergency room—to get oral and three different intravenous antibiotics to reduce the swelling and infection.

Happily, the hellion quickly mellowed and morphed into Jiniko Moxie, a personable, playful, and sassy cat who follows us around the house like a dog.

In June, Julie retired from developing marketing communications for Microsoft and other technology companies. The decision was based on our having booked two repositioning cruises, the first one on the Caribbean Princess in July. We started in Fort Lauderdale and traveled up the east coast to Quebec City, stopping in Norfolk, New York, Boston, Newport, Bar Harbor, Saint John New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, we both returned with hefty cases of COVID, despite having had four vaccines.

In late September, we boarded Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam and traveled from Vancouver, Canada along the west coast through the Panama Canal, and ended up in Fort Lauderdale three weeks later. Stops included San Francisco, Catalina Island, San Diego, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, and Puerto Chiapas, Mexico, Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, Oranjestad, Aruba, and Half Mood Cay, Bahamas.

During this trip, we met for the first time, Shanel, one of Julie’s cousins on her mother’s side. We had a fabulous day touring the San Diego Zoo with her two adorable sons, Owen and Lucas, and her husband Marcos.

In March, we spent three marvelous days with Julie’s cousin, who visited from Portland, Oregon. Growing up, Julie enjoyed spending time with her and is grateful that they reconnected.

June was equally memorable, spending a long weekend with Rich’s kids and their families in Long Beach, Washington. The weather was ideal, and it was the perfect mix of beach, relaxing, playing games, and catching up on news.

We hope this holiday season caps off a memorable and fulfilling year, and that you’re welcoming the start of 2023.